Welcome to Our Favorite Place on Earth! 

 We created the ultimate salty guide to the Big Island of Hawai'i for travelers like Aaron and myself who want to cut the fluff and genuinely experience a place.

This Big Island Travel Guide is filled with 90+ of our all-time favorite island stays, restaurants, cafes, beaches, surf spots, experiences, tropical escapes, shops + tips for traveling this beautiful, big island. We emphasize supporting locally, being conscious of your impact and honoring the culture and traditions of Hawai'i. 

The intention behind this guide is to stop the endless scrolling on Instagram, screen-shotting, hours researching on Google and getting lost on TripAdvisor or Yelp! We want you to cater your vacation to YOU & to save you the time & energy. The point of being on vacation is to relax, unplug and immerse yourself in the beauty + culture around you.

Meet your insiders guide to The Big Island of Hawai'i!

LET'S DIVE IN!

Tap to drop down any option & start planning!

HOLUALOA INN 
Luxury bed and breakfast on a 30 acre coffee estate in the artist village of Holualoa.

PUAKEA RANCH
A historic ranch on the Big Island of Hawaii offering 4 beautifully restored plantation era cottages.

THE BIG ISLAND TREEHOUSE 
Dreamy tropical treehouse near Volcano National Park. 

BEACH CAMPING
There are a bunch of gorgeous beaches you can camp at on this island! Be sure to make a reservation beforehand. 

THE INN AT KULANIAPIA FALLS
The Inn sits on twenty two acres of lush land, surrounding Hawaii’s largest privately accessible waterfall. The Kulaniapia experience is phenomenal, just minutes from town, but completely secluded. 

HALE KUKUI ORCHARD + RETREAT
Beautiful bed + breakfast that overlooks Waipio valley, welcoming guests for a retreat or to host events + weddings.

HAWAI’I ISLAND RETREAT
A beautiful, tucked away eco-boutique hotel and wellness spa on the north Kohala coast. You can relax and unwind on 50 acres of sacred land covered in gardens, wild groves, and ancient valley trails. They offer elegant accommodations in harmony with nature.

THE FALLS AT REED’S ISLAND 
This stellar retreat is nestled in a rainforest just blocks from downtown Hilo. It’s eye level to one of Hawaii's most beautiful waterfalls and is flanked by both the Wailuku River and rainforest. Such a special and unique place to stay when visiting!

BIG ISLAND, TINY VILLAGE
They have 3 Tiny Houses and are located above Kona town and just below the Kaloko Cloud Forest on three beautiful acres. We are"off the grid"/eco friendly but high tech with all the amenities and comforts you need for an awesome getaway vacation. Rent one or the entire village! 

THE OHANA HOUSE 
For those that love a little adventure, try this unique, off-grid tiny home at the foot of the world's most active volcano.


FOUR SEASONS HUALALAI
The ultimate luxury resort in paradise. Luxury price tag but incredible property. 

KONA SHERATON AT KEAUHOU BAY
We used to live in Keauhou + LOVE the area. It's quieter than staying right in the heart of town and there are incredible views from the property! 

MAUNA KEA BEACH HOTEL
Gorgeous oceanfront property residing along the beautiful Kohala Coast where all of the most beautiful, big beaches are located. Luxurious and welcoming with a beautiful golf course!

THE WESTIN HAPUNA HOTEL 
Near Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, this upscale resort also overlooks beachfront on the Kohala Coast. We frequent the beach here often and love the feel of the resort! 

FAIRMONT ORCHID 
Luxury resort and spa also located on the Kohala Coast. We've never stayed here personally but have heard good things!

GRAND NANILOA HOTEL IN HILO 
This newly renovated property is a great choice if you are staying over in Hilo. 

THE PUAKO HYLTON
Situated in one of Hawaii’s few oceanfront communities, The Puako Hylton Beach Villa offers the ultimate luxury retreat. This custom Bali style design home offers a unique floor plan covering over 4000 square feet of tropical living space.


OFF THE BEATEN PATH

HOTELS + RESORTS

Places To Stay

close

Where To Eat IN KONA

UNDER THE BODHI TREE
Locally sourced, globally flavored. Casual eatery on the Kohala Coast with an eclectic menu of vegetarian, vegan and raw dishes. I haven't had an item on the menu I didn't LOVE!

HAYASHI'S / YOU MAKE DA ROLL
Local's favorite! Inexpensive but awesome sushi. Only open from 11am to 6pm (and closes at 4pm on Saturday) and the line PILES UP QUICKLY! Typically, we place our order, walk around Ali'i Drive for about an hour then go back to pick it up. 

*Bonus if you take it down by the water to enjoy!

LOKO WRAPS
They've coined the phrase 'island style Mexican food.' They have a location in Captain Cook & another in Kona. The BBQ jackfruit (which resembles pulled pork) is so amazing and we're 
obsessed with their sauces!

UMEKE'S 
This awesome local spot believes in wildly fresh fish caught from our Kona waters and served 
BOAT to BOWL fresh to create their sashimi quality Poke Bowls that have earned many awards.

HUGGO'S ON THE ROCKS 
Serving lunch, sunset cocktails, pupus + dinner daily. We love the atmosphere on Sunday evenings as they usually have acoustic live music!

KONA BREWING COMPANY 
Awesome local brew pub! Great for pizza + beers – although they have much more on the menu. Sometimes I'll get one of their delicious salads + the ahi sashimi for a lighter meal. 
My favorite beers are the Koko Brown, Big Wave + Kua Bay IPA!

DA POKE SHACK
One word: YUM! If you love fresh poke, I definitely recommend this local joint! They have awesome recipes, it's right in town + you can take it to the beach if you want to have yourself a little picnic! 

OLA BREWERY 
With a mission of encouraging growth of the agricultural economy here in Hawai’i by purchasing local ingredients and incorporating them into beers and ciders – how could you not love them? Plus, their beers and ciders are DELICIOUS! Definitely stop into their tap room when visiting. 

MAGICS BEACH GRILL 
This newly opened spot is a GEM in Kona! Right on the ocean, overlooking Magic Sands Beach, this place is perfect for lunch, an oceanside cocktail or a romantic dinner. 

BAREFOOT ZONE
Tucked away in the center of town they offer a large menu with fresh, vibrant plant-based options! Gluten free options too. Smoothies and smoothie bowls, sandwiches, crepes, etc. 

KULEANA RUM SHACK 
Great lunch or happy hour spot in Waikoloa with signature rum cocktails and Hawaiian inspired menu! They honor the land still forming under our feet by cultivating, harvesting, and fishing sustainably.

FOOD TRUCKS
There are some delicious island food trucks here. We had no idea until we lived here so I'm giving you the local scoop. Check out: Lotus Cafe, Cool Runnings & Kona Dogs. They all update their social media with their daily location! 


Coffee + Sweets  +

Out to Dinner  +

Something Casual 

THE BLUE ROOM BRASSERIE
You won't find any authentic Hawaiian food here! This unique restaurant offers an exciting menu of French cuisine if something different strikes your fancy! 

KENICHI PACIFIC
Two words: HAPPY HOUR! From 4:30-6:00pm this sushi spot has the best happy hour in town on food + cocktails. Their rolls are inspired by the tropics and delicious.

ALOHA VISTA BAR + GRILL
This gem is located in Keauhou on the same grounds as the Kona Country Club. With majestic views of Keauhou Bay and dishes straight from Italy, Amici Vista is perfect for lunch, dinner, and even happy hour! 

ULU OCEAN GRILL OR BEACH TREE AT FOUR SEASONS
Both have an element of 'barefoot elegance' as you dine oceanside with incredible menu options. This is a well worth splurge on vacation!

Coffee + Sweets  +

Out to Dinner

Something Casual +

FOSTER’S KITCHEN 
Cuisine made from scratch and perfection within a hand-crafted cocktail using only the freshest ingredients possible. Can get really busy so call and make a reservation if possible!

KAMANA KITCHEN
Absolutely delicious Indian restaurant with a cozy atmostphere overlooking the ocean. Vegetarian + vegan options too!

MI'S WATERFRONT BISTRO
Intimate spot featuring house-made Italian pasta + dishes using island-sourced ingredients. Love their Lanai Spritz cocktail!

LAVA LAVA BEACH CLUB
Beach front casual restaurant where you can sip a cocktail with your feet in the sand. Facing Anaeho'omalu Bay, this lovely spot offers something for everyone.

SHIONO SUSHI
This little hole in the wall right off of Ali'i Drive has authentic japanese cuisine + Traditional sushi. Perfect for a lunch date or dinner!

THE BLUE ROOM BRASSERIE
You won't find any authentic Hawaiian food here! This unique restaurant offers an exciting menu of French cuisine if something different strikes your fancy! 

KENICHI PACIFIC
Two words: HAPPY HOUR! From 4:30-6:00pm this sushi spot has the best happy hour in town on food + cocktails. Their rolls are inspired by the tropics and delicious.

ALOHA VISTA BAR + GRILL
This gem is located in Keauhou on the same grounds as the Kona Country Club. With majestic views of Keauhou Bay and dishes straight from Italy, Amici Vista is perfect for lunch, dinner, and even happy hour! 

ULU OCEAN GRILL OR BEACH TREE AT FOUR SEASONS
Both have an element of 'barefoot elegance' as you dine oceanside with incredible menu options. This is a well worth splurge on vacation!

THE COFFEE SHACK 
Plan on grabbing a fresh cup of kona joe + breakfast overlooking 26 miles of coastline. The location in the hills is breathtaking. Views of the coast everywhere you look and tasty bites - you can't go wrong! These photos were taken on a really dreary day+ you can see even then, it's still charming.

WAIMEA COFFEE COMPANY
Warm and welcoming place for residents and visitors alike! We love to stop here for a cup of coffee and breakfast sandwich or burrito before an adventure up in Waimea.

ONE ALOHA SHAVE ICE
Serving homemade shave ice syrups lightly sweetened with certified organic cane sugar + local, organic fruits. Drool over flavors like Lilikoi, Tahitian Lime, Guava, Mango, Lychee and Coconut.

GYPSEA GELATO
AMAZING gelato – my favorite flavor is the Tom Kha. Locations in both Kealekekua + Kona.

Coffee + Sweets 

Out to Dinner +

Something Casual +

DAYLIGHT MIND COFFEE COMPANY
Whether you're looking for a great brunch spot by the water, a beautiful restaurant to enjoy while you watch the sunset or a lovely little coffee shop to work from – daylight mind is your place!  

BASIK ACAI
Right in the middle of town, just a climb up the steps into a little treehouse-style cafe - something scrumptious awaits you. Their presentation is always beautiful, but unfortunately, their food is also too delicious to wait and get that shot! Seriously, if acai bowls are up your alley - head here for your morning breakfast or mid-day treat! 

HOLUAKOA GARDENS & CAFE
For an amazing cup of coffee + lovely atmosphere, head up the hills above Kona to visit the coffee shop located right in front of the Holuakoa Restaurant. Nestled in the historical town and artist community of Holualoa, this spot is worth visiting before you visit the art galleries lining the street.

KONA COFFEE + TEA
Visit this bright, cheery spot in the heart of town for delicious locally grown coffee, deli selections + beer/wine. The lime green walls, sunny lanai and welcoming staff makes this place really inviting!

Coffee + Sweets +

Out to Dinner +

Something Casual +

Outside of Kona

THE NOODLE CLUB
Japanese noodle house with amazing menu items showcasing locally sourced and homemade ingredients! Also, fun fact: you can BYOB. 

LUNA RESTAURANT
Fantastic, seasonal Italian-inspired food made with local ingredients. Yummy house-made pasta and amazing pizza! This is definitely a favorite of ours. Keep in mind: closed Tuesdays + Sundays. 

FISH + THE HOG
Local fare such as seafood & slow-cooked BBQ star at this rustic cafe & bar in a historic building. Aaron loves this place! Great to watch a sports game or to stop for lunch. 

PAU 
Bright, airy joint with a menu full of gourmet salads, sandwiches + pizzas. 
I recommend their superfood salad! 

KAWAIHAE SEAFOOD BAR + GRILL 
Island-style bar with inventive cocktails + interesting menu! 
Love the atmosphere of this place and it has a great happy hour! 

MERRIMAN’S WAIMEA
Chef Peter Merriman serves up a menu of fresh island flavors, an extensive wine list and cozy upcountry dining while supporting local farmers. 

BIG ISLAND BREWHAUS
A kitschy place serving up Mexican classics, occasional live music & your choice of delicious housemade margaritas or locally crafted beer. We love this place!

IN WAIMEA 

SEA DANDELION 
In this cozy space a husband-and-wife team serve up creative healthy vegetarian fare. They have amazing salads, soups & sandwiches. Not to mention their really unique selection of desserts!  

HINA RAE'S CAFE
Hina Rae's Café is a humble eatery with unique, vibrant fare including delectable açai bowls, savory waffle sandwiches, fresh brewed coffee, italian sodas, local lunch specials and more.

IN HONOKA'A

VIBE BIG ISLAND
The cutest health conscious cafe with locally grown espresso, unique medicinal beverages + tasty healthy food. It’s so darling! Definitely my favorite spot in Hilo.

CONSCIOUS CULTURE CAFE
Nutritious menu items made with aloha! Vegan and gluten free friendly! Their 'blessed-up bowls' are heavenly and we love that they have Big Island Booch on tap!  

BIG ISLAND JUICE CO.
This colorful, tiki shack offers an assortment of acai bowls, smoothies, frappes, ice cream goodies + epic sandwiches! We stop in here every time we go to Hilo.

MOON + TURTLE
Locally sourced seafood stars at this Asian-fusion cafe with a menu that changes frequently. It’s hard to get into so make your reservation in advance!

IN HILO

There's More!

Coffee + Sweets +

Out to Dinner +

Something Casual +

Outside of Kona

IN HILO

SWEET CANE CAFE
Casual and accessible farm-to-table experience. Serving smoothies, bowls, sandwiches and other items made with local and organic ingredients! 

SUISAN FISH MARKET
The outside looks unassuming but the food inside is out of this world! They have reasonable pricing & the poké is so fresh with a lot of variety. It can be busy but the line moves pretty quickly. 

HILO BAY CAFE
New American menu with a tropical twist – great cocktails & bay views. 

PINEAPPLES 
Island-style cuisine with live entertainment + fun atmosphere! This place is a legacy in downtown Hilo and the first restaurant we ever visited on that side. Love it here!  

POKE MARKET
If you love sushi then you will appreciate the care, quality and flavors that this new spot is known for. They have recipes that you hope to find (like Hawaiian and Spicy Poké) as well as some that are unique to Poké Market!

SUSHI ROCK
Best sushi on the island in my humble opinion! It's a bit pricey but worth it! Perfect for lunch after hiking down to Pololu. 

SWEET POTATO KITCHEN + BAKERY
Breakfast and lunch weekdays, brunch on weekends! Awesome for vegans and vegetarians, gluten free options.

IN HAWI

Outside of Kona

THE NOODLE CLUB
Japanese noodle house with amazing menu items showcasing locally sourced and homemade ingredients! Also, fun fact: you can BYOB. 

LUNA RESTAURANT
Fantastic, seasonal Italian-inspired food made with local ingredients. Yummy house-made pasta and amazing pizza! This is definitely a favorite of ours. Keep in mind: closed Tuesdays + Sundays. 

FISH + THE HOG
Local fare such as seafood & slow-cooked BBQ star at this rustic cafe & bar in a historic building. Aaron loves this place! Great to watch a sports game or to stop for lunch. 

PAU 
Bright, airy joint with a menu full of gourmet salads, sandwiches + pizzas. 
I recommend their superfood salad! 

KAWAIHAE SEAFOOD BAR + GRILL 
Island-style bar with inventive cocktails + interesting menu! 
Love the atmosphere of this place and it has a great happy hour! 

MERRIMAN’S WAIMEA
Chef Peter Merriman serves up a menu of fresh island flavors, an extensive wine list and cozy upcountry dining while supporting local farmers. 

BIG ISLAND BREWHAUS
A kitschy place serving up Mexican classics, occasional live music & your choice of delicious housemade margaritas or locally crafted beer. We love this place!

IN WAIMEA 

SUSHI ROCK
Best sushi on the island in my humble opinion! It's a bit pricey but worth it! Perfect for lunch after hiking down to Pololu. 

SWEET POTATO KITCHEN + BAKERY
Breakfast and lunch weekdays, brunch on weekends! Awesome for vegans and vegetarians, gluten free options.

IN HAWI

SEA DANDELION 
In this cozy space a husband-and-wife team serve up creative healthy vegetarian fare. They have amazing salads, soups & sandwiches. Not to mention their really unique selection of desserts!  

HINA RAE'S CAFE
Hina Rae's Café is a humble eatery with unique, vibrant fare including delectable açai bowls, savory waffle sandwiches, fresh brewed coffee, italian sodas, local lunch specials and more.

VIBE BIG ISLAND
The cutest health conscious cafe with locally grown espresso, unique medicinal beverages + tasty healthy food. It’s so darling! Definitely my favorite spot in Hilo.

CONSCIOUS CULTURE CAFE
Nutritious menu items made with aloha! Vegan and gluten free friendly! Their 'blessed-up bowls' are heavenly and we love that they have Big Island Booch on tap!  

BIG ISLAND JUICE CO.
This colorful, tiki shack offers an assortment of acai bowls, smoothies, frappes, ice cream goodies + epic sandwiches! We stop in here every time we go to Hilo.

MOON + TURTLE
Locally sourced seafood stars at this Asian-fusion cafe with a menu that changes frequently. It’s hard to get into so make your reservation in advance!

SWEET CANE CAFE
Casual and accessible farm-to-table experience. Serving smoothies, bowls, sandwiches and other items made with local and organic ingredients! 

SUISAN FISH MARKET
The outside looks unassuming but the food inside is out of this world! They have reasonable pricing & the poké is so fresh with a lot of variety. It can be busy but the line moves pretty quickly. 

HILO BAY CAFE
New American menu with a tropical twist – great cocktails & bay views. 

PINEAPPLES 
Island-style cuisine with live entertainment + fun atmosphere! This place is a legacy in downtown Hilo and the first restaurant we ever visited on that side. Love it here!  

POKE MARKET
If you love sushi then you will appreciate the care, quality and flavors that this new spot is known for. They have recipes that you hope to find (like Hawaiian and Spicy Poké) as well as some that are unique to Poké Market!

IN HONOKA'A

IN HILO

Favorite Beaches

MANINI'OWALI BEACH (KUA BAY)
Gorgeous white sand beach close to the airport 

MAHAI'ULA BEACH 
Rough Road, 4x4 Recommended 

KOHANAIKI BEACH PARK (PINE TREES)
For Surfing or Hanging Out

OFF THE BEATEN PATH:
PAPAKOLEA GREEN SAND BEACH 
POLOLU VALLEY BEACH

HONAUNAU BAY (AKA TWO STEP)
Best overall snorkeling!

KAHALU'U BEACH PARK
Great for beginner + intermediate surfing too! 

CARLSMITH BEACH PARK (FOUR MILE BEACH
There are often sea turtle sightings at this lagoon on Hilo side. Don't touch or feed them but it's wonderful to see. 





CLOSE TO TOWN

BEST FOR SNORKELING

ON THE KOHALA COAST

PLEASE WEAR REEF-SAFE SUNSCREEN!
AND PLEASE BE A DECENT HUMAN. 
TREAT THESE PLACES LIKE YOU LIVE HERE.

?

Where do I fly into?

You can fly into kona airport (koa) or hilo airport (Ito) depending on where you are staying!

NEXT FAQ

Should I get a rental car?

There's Not tons of options for public transit here on the island and there is so much to see!
We recommend getting a fuel efficient car. 

NEXT FAQ

What should I pack?

reef safe sunscreen. SWIMSUITS & BOARD SHORTS.  reusable bottle & to-go mug. reusable cloth bags. breathable clothing. hiking shoes.

NEXT FAQ

Kona Side or Hilo Side?

We love BOTH! each side of the island has something unique to offer. Kona is The leeward side which tends to be hot, dry, and sunny. Hilo, the windward side, is more lush and green, tending to have more rain. 

NEXT FAQ

Remember These Things:

Please care for the islands as if they were your home.

BRING YOUR
REUSABLE BAGS

Back in 2014, Hawai'i banned single-use plastic bags! Avoid wasteful paper bags or having to carry out your groceries by bringing your own reusable ones! They can double as a beach bag!

ONLY WEAR
REEF SAFE SUNSCREEN

Don't just believe the label! Look for NON-NANO ZINC OXIDE only!

AVOID SUNSCREENS WITH: 

OXYBENZONE / OCTINOXATE 
HOMOSALATE / OCTOCRYLENE 
OCTISALATE / AVOBENZONE 

BRING REUSABLE WATER BOTTLE & COFFEE MUG 

Only 9% of all plastic EVER CREATED has been recycled so we cannot rely on the recycling system alone. We have to stop our reliance on it! Bring these two easy tools to avoid so much unnecessary waste. 

TREAD
LIGHTLY

Don't tag your location on social media unless you're at a local business. Leave no trace (pick up your waste) and leave this place better than you found it! 

OCEAN SAFARI WITH SEE THROUGH SEA 
Ali and Jim are a husband and wife marine biology + underwater photography team dedicated to ocean conservation. With their extensive knowledge of the ocean, these two ensure an incredible experience that respects nature and all of the animals in the sea. Find them on social – @aliciaunderwater + @seethroughsea!

DIVING WITH BIG ISLAND DIVERS
If you're interested in getting dive certified, already have your dive certification and want to put it to good use or even if staying above water is more your jam – we know you'll love Big Island Divers. This amazing company truly offers something for everyone: day + night dives, dolphin tours, manta ray dives and jet ski rentals. Tell them we sent you!

SAIL WITH BIG ISLAND SHAKA CATAMARAN 

SAIL WITH KONA STYLE
Hop on this beautiful catamaran for a morning or afternoon cruise down the Kona coastline or go out with them to see the manta rays swimming at night. Good vibes all around with their team!

THURSDAYS AT DON THE MAI TAI BAR 
Watch the sunset and sip mai tais from the place the first Mai Tai was crafted while local artists
(some really famous) play ukulele or slack key guitar, showcasing the diversity of today's Hawaiian music scene. Every Thursday – Happy Hour 4pm-6pm. Free to go. Such a lovely spot!

FIRST FRIDAYS IN HOLUALOA
Here for the first Friday of the month? If so, head up to main street Holualoa from 5:30-8:30pm to stroll through the historic town's shops + galleries. There's typically live music and certain shops have pupus + drinks. It's so fun!

WAIMEA TOWN MARKET
Waimea Town Market at Parker School is home to over 40 vendors who offer a wide variety of terrific produce, food and other unique items. Open year-round on Saturday mornings, from 7:30 until noon.

TOUR COFFEE FARMS 
Touring a coffee farm is eye-opening and makes you appreciate a cup of joe so much more! This is something unique and something kona is known for so I definitely recommend it. 

Here are some farms to look into:
Kona Coffee Living History Farm
Sunshower Farms tours
Kona Joe Coffee
Greenwell Farms


More Experiences

SAILING OUT OF HONOKOHAU HARBOR
There are a great sailing companies that can take you out for a calming, incredible experience out on the open water! One that's not listed on the site linked above is HONU SAIL CHARTERS

DINNER AT THE RANCH
On Wednesday nights you can experience the award-winning Evening Sunset Dinner at Kahua Ranch. Greeted by an open campfire where you'll hear about the history of the ranch. Next, dinner, open bar + you can then make s'mores, learn to rope, line dance, star gaze, pitch horseshoes or brand a shingle to take home.

SUNSET YOGA OR INDOOR YOGA AT YOGA NEST  
Stretch, rejuvenate and feel gratitude for this incredible place all while taking in the sunset at Pahoehoe Beach Park. Or if you're feeling an indoor morning session, check out our favorite studio called The Yoga Nest right in Kona. 

VOLCANO NATIONAL PARK
Seeing a volcano through your own eyes is something that is really unique and incredible to experience when you are visiting the Big Island of Hawaii! There’s so much to do in the park: you can hike, bike, ride in a helicopter, walk through a lava tube and even see plants that can’t be found anywhere else on earth! 

PU'UHONUA O HONAUNAU – CITY OF REFUGE
This historic spot is a treasured piece of Hawaii history, an opportunity to step back in time. These sacred grounds are a remarkably preserved sanctuary of Hawaii's past and a wonderful place to explore.

KA LAE – SOUTH POINT 
You can take in the view at the southern most point of the United States and on high surf days, watch water shoot out of the blow holes. If you're into cliff jumping, you can jump off the 40ft cliff at your own risk! Stop into Ka Lae Coffee while you’re down there!

WATERFALLS
Exploring the island's waterfalls is a really magical part of the experience here in the islands! 

Here are a few of our favorites:
AKAKA FALLS
RAINBOW FALLS
UMAUMA FALLS (You can zipline here too!)
PE'EPE'E FALLS

HELICOPTER TOUR
Another way to take in waterfalls + switch up your perspective is by taking a helicopter ride!
We recommend BLUE HAWAIIAN HELICOPTERS or PARADISE HELICOPTERS!

Be sure to offset your flight directly through your tour provider or through a transparent, reliable organization like Cool Effect. 

Go Back

Experiences
NOT TO MISS


STORES TO CHECK OUT:

 
Shops in Hawi 
Shops in Holualoa
Shops in Kaneliu – Thrift stores + quaint little shops 
Kepola Design House (at the Waimea Farmer’s Market or online) 
Maruyama Jones Farm (at the Waimea Farmer’s Market or online)
Hana Hou Hilo
Pueo Boutique
Quill + Feather
Coco + Lita
Bee Chi Apothecary 
Mana Artisan Botanics 
Tai Shan Dragon Fruit Farms 
We used to have my mom ship their dragon fruit loaves to us! 

TALK TO ARTISANS + LEARN FROM THEM 
My recommendation when you travel ANYWHERE is to talk to the locals and artists you come across. Get the story behind the piece you're buying, talk about their traditions, ask their recommendations around town, etc. This is a great way to absorb the culture and learn more about this amazing island. 

DON’T TAKE SAND OR LAVA
The legend says you'll have bad luck for seven years! 


Bring Some

                    Back Home

shop local. 

Bring Some 

           Back Home

Most people have the dream of visiting the Hawaiian islands, and for a good reason! Hawai’i is awe-inspiring, extremely sacred and beautiful with wildly diverse landscapes: from beaches of all colors, desert landscapes, rolling hills, jaw-dropping cliff sides and pristine natural waterfalls. Plus it’s relatively easy to travel to which is why millions of people flock here each year. 

Sadly, many visitors of Hawai’i fail to consider the rich, deep Hawaiian culture and their impact on these islands. We have worked closely with the Hawai’i tourism board, local environmental activists and small business owners alike – they all have a similar lens: 





And so any efforts to bring people to the island do not revolve around increasing their numbers, but educating tourists to respect and learn about the culture and history, travel mindfully and sustainably as to leave the islands in the best condition and finally to spend their money where it counts: with local and Hawaiian owned businesses.

In appreciation of this, each of our island travel guides focus on supporting local businesses, honoring nature, enjoying responsible activities and celebrating Hawaiian culture.

I know it's easy to slip into 'vacation mode' and stop considering this place as someone else's home but we welcome you to enjoy your vacation while being conscious of your impact on this planet and the ecosystems here in Hawai’i nei! 

‘Kokua’ means to ‘care for’ or ‘help’. When you come to visit, please kokua the islands & care for them as if you lived here. Here are some things to keep in mind: 



Kokua The Islands

Hawai’i does not need more tourists. 
Millions visit every year. 
Hawaii needs better tourists. 


- Wear nothing but REEF SAFE sunscreen even if you’re not swimming in the ocean. The reefs in Hawai’i are dying rapidly and toxic, chemical sunscreen from booming tourism plays a HUGE role! 

- Don’t tag specific locations on social media! It’s one thing if the tag is a place of business or well known site like Volcano National Park but we have seen firsthand how social media tagging can very negatively affect a place. Over the past five years, almost every lesser known place within these islands is now overrun with tourists snapping selfies, totally unaware of the sacredness of the place, and is littered with trash. It’s heartbreaking & I can’t even imagine how those who have lived here for generations or a lifetime must feel. Be mindful of the ripple effects of your actions. Keep things under wraps and let those who appreciate and respect nature find it on their own!

- Bring reusable water bottles & USE THEM! 
Avoiding plastic water & soda bottles makes a HUGE impact!


- Bring reusable cloth bags for groceries. In Hawai’i plastic grocery bags have been banned & many stores will have you carry out your groceries if you don’t bring reusable!


- Don't leave your trash in nature – not on the beaches, on hikes, in parks, out your window or anywhere besides in recycling, composting or trash bins. 



WAYS To participate

Read these posts for more ideas:

Today, our oceans and marine life are facing the threat of permanent alteration from a number of sources of pollution, and plastic is among the most significant. Here in Hawai’i, plastic is just as common to see at the beach as seashells are. It’s more of an issue than an aesthetic disturbance; it’s choking the ecosystem of our oceans & once you start to understand this crisis, it’s absolutely mind blowing.


 
And plastic never truly disappears or breaks down, it breaks ‘up’ into microplastics that our planet cannot digest. 

32% of the 78 million tons of plastic packaging produced annually is left to flow into our oceans; the equivalent of pouring one garbage truck of plastic into the ocean every minute. Floating at sea, the UV radiation of the sun makes the plastic brittle. The plastic breaks up into smaller pieces from the friction of the waves. Then, the plastic breaks down into microplastic particles, which are fragments of plastic smaller than a grain of sand or the tip of a needle. Ocean currents sweep these microplastic particles all over our beaches here in Hawai'i, they are ingested by the mammals and fish that inhabit our oceans & in turn, are ingested by us. 

Nearly every species of marine life is contaminated by plastic (either digesting it or entanglement), from microscopic plankton to the largest mammals on earth, our beloved whales. Marine animals that become entangled in plastic may drown or starve. Plastic garbage resembles food for marine species. Turtles are known to mistake plastic bags for jellyfish. Sea birds selectively ingest specific colors of plastic, mistaking them for prey.



This is a global problem, we just have a front row seat here in Hawai’i. While you are here traveling, I hope that this place becomes as much of a teacher to you as it has been to us. We encourage you to be part of the solution, not the problem.  

Every piece of plastic that has ever been made still exists.

Why We Need to Eliminate Single-Use Plastic Water Bottles

Tips For Sustainable Living
on a Budget

Travel More Sustainably: How To Reduce Our Waste While Traveling

- Avoid single-use waste by bringing a metal straw, reusable coffee mug & reusable utensils. Bring anything you know you’ll be using a lot of & be sure to ask for no straw when out to eat/don't ask for to go boxes if you don't need to!

- Ask businesses about their sustainable business practices. Voice that you, as their ideal customer, would like to see them go plastic free!

- Recycle what you do use! Sadly, this year Hawai'i has stopped recycling plastics that are not "HI5" (read more here) BUT there was a huge gap in our plastic recycling infrastructure anyways, so relying on recycling isn’t the answer but if you do use items such as glass, metal or plastic PLEASE recycle properly. 

- Carry out trash/micro plastic (even if it’s not yours) from the beaches so it doesn’t blow into our oceans or get swept up in the currents … or JOIN IN ON A BEACH CLEAN UP!



LEARN MORE HERE

Today, our oceans and marine life are facing the threat of permanent alteration from a number of sources of pollution, and plastic is among the most significant. Here in Hawai’i, plastic is just as common to see at the beach as seashells are. It’s more of an issue than an aesthetic disturbance; it’s choking the ecosystem of our oceans & once you start to understand this crisis, it’s absolutely mind blowing.




 
And plastic never truly disappears or breaks down, it breaks ‘up’ into microplastics that our planet cannot digest. 

32% of the 78 million tons of plastic packaging produced annually is left to flow into our oceans; the equivalent of pouring one garbage truck of plastic into the ocean every minute. Floating at sea, the UV radiation of the sun makes the plastic brittle. The plastic breaks up into smaller pieces from the friction of the waves. Then, the plastic breaks down into microplastic particles, which are fragments of plastic smaller than a grain of sand or the tip of a needle. Ocean currents sweep these microplastic particles all over our beaches here in Hawai'i, they are ingested by the mammals and fish that inhabit our oceans & in turn, are ingested by us. 

Nearly every species of marine life is contaminated by plastic (either digesting it or entanglement), from microscopic plankton to the largest mammals on earth, our beloved whales. Marine animals that become entangled in plastic may drown or starve. Plastic garbage resembles food for marine species. Turtles are known to mistake plastic bags for jellyfish. Sea birds selectively ingest specific colors of plastic, mistaking them for prey.







This is a global problem, we just have a front row seat here in Hawai’i. While you are here traveling, I hope that this place becomes as much of a teacher to you as it has been to us. We encourage you to be part of the solution, not the problem.  

Each average American will throw away 185 pounds of plastic every year.

Plastic is found in the stomachs of 85% of turtle species, 43% of seabird species, and 44% of marine mammals.

Offset The Carbon From Your Trip

 One long-haul flight generates more carbon emissions than the average
person around the world produces in a whole year. So what can we do?

Choose the route with the least stops (non-stop if possible),
fly with sustainable carriers using biofuels/going plastic free and

Did you know air traveling is one of the 'dirtiest' things we do?

Offset your carbon

E Komo Mai & Enjoy!

 Truly, there is something for everyone on our beloved big island. We know you'll have a spectacular time & we thank you for reading through the guide that we've loving put together for you! 

Please let us know your favorite moments by tagging us online @elanaloo & @aaronhaynes!
Now relax, unplug and immerse yourself in the beauty + culture around you.

We hope this guide gives you a lens into life here on the big island

Login for Access

Username:
Password: